Lamar Austin was faced with a difficult decision on New Year’s Eve.
His nine-months-pregnant wife, Lindsay, was in her second day of early labor, but his boss was telling him if he didn’t show up for his shift as a part-time security guard in Manchester, he would lose his job.
Austin weighed his options, and concluded that no matter the consequences, he wasn’t going to miss his son’s birth.
“I thought, ‘Family comes before anything else,’ ” Austin said. “I’m not going to turn my back on them for a job.”
So, at 4 a.m. on the first day of the year, Austin, 30, drove his 26-year-old wife, Lindsay Austin, to Concord Hospital from their home in Pittsfield. He had to be careful on the roads, which were still icy from the snowstorm of the day before.
After what the couple said felt like four short hours later, their son, Cainan Austin, was born. He arrived at 7:44 a.m. – the first baby of the year in Concord. And, most importantly, Cainan’s father was there to hold him after his birth.
Later in the afternoon, while resting at the hospital with his wife and newborn, Austin said he felt at peace with the decision to miss work. However, he admitted it hadn’t been easy. Right before he drove his wife to the hospital, his boss sent him a text saying that he was officially terminated.
“It was hard, but if I have to choose between work and family, I’m always going to pick my family,” he said, gently patting his son’s pink-and-blue striped hat as he slept in his mother’s arms. “Sometimes you lose something, and you get something even better.”
The couple chose the name Cainan for their son because they thought it was unusual – and both liked it right away when they heard it. When he was born, Cainan was 7 pounds, 3 ounces and 19 inches. His mother noted how similar he looks to her other three children – 8, 3 and 21 months.
Lindsay was surprised that Cainan was born on his expected due date – Jan. 1.
“We were laughing about having the first baby of the year,” she said. “We never thought it would actually happen.”
Lindsay is a stay-at-home-mom, and she said it’s the best job there is.
“I’m so lucky to be able to do that,” she said.
The couple met almost 10 years ago on an online dating site, and later had their first daughter, now 8. But Lamar, who was originally from New Jersey and an ammunition specialist in the Army, wasn’t able to move to New Hampshire where Lindsay lived until four years ago.
In 2012, Lamar arrived in the Granite State hoping to spend more time with his daughter, but he wasn’t able to find housing or a job right away. He lived temporarily at the McKenna House in Concord, while Lindsay stayed with her mother in Manchester.
Despite some ups and downs, Lindsay and Lamar decided to get married this past year and set up their home.
Lindsay’s mom was watching the couple’s other three children while they were in the hospital Sunday. Lindsay and Lamar video-chatted Lindsay’s mom from their hospital room, and she reported that Cainan’s brothers and sisters are very excited to meet the family’s newest member.
Lindsay and Lamar said they had always wanted a big family.
“We always used to joke about having 10 kids when we first got together, but I think we’re going to be taking a break for a while after this one,” Lindsay said, smiling.
As for 2017, Lindsay said she just hopes the family stays happy and healthy. Lamar said he wants to focus on spending as much time together as they can.